By Mecca R. Dennehy
We all know what a well put together brand looks like: consistent web content, beautiful typography, a unique voice that carries over in every sentence, a killer logo—you get the idea. These are all parts of a style guide, which is essentially a blueprint for a brand.
Having a style guide will make your brand more consistent, reputable, and trustworthy to your clients. No idea where to start? Don’t fret! We will go over all the juicy details of why your business needs one, what exactly is in a style guide, and how to start your own right now. Let’s jump in!
Why Your Business Needs A Style Guide
Just like every house has a blueprint before building begins, every business should have a style guide before they begin to scale. This makes your message clear from the start and will be your guiding light in every aspect of your business’s presence.
Plus, a style guide is an easy and clear way to inform new members of your team (or if you hand off tasks like social media management) on the ins and outs of your brand. If you’re already an established business but want a way to cement the ideas and values of your brand’s identity, this is the place to start.
What’s In A Style Guide
Okay, so now that we’ve laid out the reasons why every brand should have a style guide, here are some of the key components:
A Logo and Logo Requirements: Include sizes, colors, variations, or any other factors that play a part in your logo.
Color Palette: We suggest a visual color palette, as well as HTML color codes so you can easily change colors to the exact shade(s). A bonus is to add a quick memo about what each color represents or the “feel” you’re going for.
Preferred Typography: If you are using different fonts for page headers vs paragraph-level text, specify each and include the font size.
Keywords: What keywords do you want your audience to think of when they view your brand or web content? What descriptive words do you use to communicate the feel of your business?
Mission Statement: The big “why” behind your business. If you have keywords, try to add a few in your mission statement.
Tone of Voice: This is a big one! Are you conversational? Casual? Professional? Informative? If you can nail down your tone of voice, your brand consistency will drastically improve. If possible, add examples of dos and don’ts.
Photography and Icons: If you have staff images, product images, or other on-brand images, have these easily accessible so you and your team can pull images when needed. The same goes for social media icons or decorative icons—always pull the same icons from a common source so everything you post is consistent in terms of color and size.
Ways To Find Inspiration
After reading through all the aspects of a style guide, you may feel a little intimidated. But, trust us, this is where the fun begins! Spend some time looking over brands you love and note any of the aspects that particularly draw you in—is it their laid-back tone of voice? Their bright and happy color palette? Their use of creative product images?
Whatever it is, take a screenshot or jot it down and compile a list of things you would like to draw inspiration from. Be sure to spend some time looking at your competitor’s web content and see what they are doing successfully, what you like, and what you could do differently or better. Always being in the know about competitors and how you can stand out from them is key.
One of the best things you can hear from a friend or client is, “Hey, I saw this post and before I even looked at the name I knew it was from [your business]!” Why? Because that means your consistent brand identity is shining through, and your audience is able to identify your work before even looking at the name.
If you’re still feeling overwhelmed by the idea of creating your own style guide, we are here to help! We love creating style guides for our clients and working with them on solidifying their brand’s identity. If you’re ready to take the leap and build your brand’s blueprint, contact us today!